It was delicious my first taste in almost thirty

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It was delicious. My first taste in almost thirty years of a soup that had seriously inspired me in my professional life. As a young Chef, I had toiled mightily to re-create it, again and again, chasing the recipe, fooling with ingredients and amounts and procedures, until I'd finally gotten it right. Fact is, however wonderful the soup might have been, mine is better now. I use lobster. I roast the shells. I garnish mine with hunks of claw meat, making, finally, a 35
cook's TOUR heartier, more luxurious version. It may have tasted the same, but, like visiting an old girlfriend and wondering, What the hell did I ever. see in her? I guess things had moved on. Desperately seeking epiphany, I ordered oysters which couldn't have been better a plate of rouget, the tiny, bony but delicious fish from the Med, fried sardines, a pan-roasted magret de canard (duck breast) in green pepper sauce, and a bavene for good measure. But it still wasn't happening for me. It's not that I wasn't happy. It was great to sit at a table in France again, to look up from my food and see my brother again, to watch him unrest- rainedly enjoying himself, bathing in the normalcy, the niceness of it all. Compared to most of my adventures, this was laudable. Gentle. Sentimental. No one to get hurt. Waste, disappointment, excess, the usual earmarks of most of my previous enterprises, were, for once, totally missing from the picture. Why was I not having the time of my life? i began to feel damaged. Broken. As if some essential organ my heart perhaps had shriveled and died along with all those dead clumps of brain cells and lung, my body and soul like some big white elephant of an Atlantic City hotel, closed down wing by wing until only the lobby and facade remained. We walked off dinner by the port. 'See that dock over there?' said to Chris, pointing out a sad-looking wooden structure collapsing slowly into the '.vater. 'I remember sitting on that dock when I was fifteen. Sam and Jeffrey and Nancy all my friends were in Provincetown that summer. And I was stuck here. Jesus! I was miserable here then! I was a lonely, bitter kid. I never got so much as a hand-job in this fucking town .. .' 'That was later. That was the last year we were here. When we were kids, it was fun, wasn't it?' 'I guess so. I don't know. I'm still pissed about those shorts. Those berets. Jesus! What a thing to do to a kid.' Chris started to look worried. 'Calm down, It's over. No more shorts. Put it behind you. Let it go.' 'If you see a phone booth, let me know. I'm thinking about calling Mom. I got a few scores to settle. Those shorts And 36 BACK TO THE BEACH maybe I should settle the Pueci incident while Itm at it. Did Pucci really have to be put down? I have my suspicions, let me tell you! And what kind of a name is that for a puppy? Puccini? There should be a law against pet names that cute ...

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